Sunday, May 19 2013 12:43 PM EDT2013-05-19 16:43:40 GMT
The National Weather service confirmed two EF-0 tornados touched down Friday in Limestone County. Showers and storms moved in around 10 a.m. A few of those storms intensified as they tracked eastwardMore >>
The National Weather service confirmed two EF-0 tornados touched down Friday in Limestone County.
Sunday, May 19 2013 12:16 AM EDT2013-05-19 04:16:53 GMT
Valley communities came together this week to honor those who lost their lives in the line of duty during Peace Officers Memorial Week. The Athens Police Department honored fallen officers by raisingMore >>
Valley communities came together this week to honor those who lost their lives in the line of duty during Peace Officers Memorial Week.More >>
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -
Decatur Police Chief Ed Taylor was a detective in 1985, the year a string of rapes began.
Half a dozen women were attacked starting in November. Most of the crimes happened at an apartment complex on Memorial Drive.
"It became apparent as we went through the investigations that they were likely linked with one suspect," Taylor said.
The department formed a task force to investigate, and when police arrested then 18-year-old David Leon Garth for a burglary in May, 1986, the attacks stopped.
"We thought the suspect in that case, in that burglary charge, may very well be the individual who had been committing the rapes," Taylor said.
Detectives collected forensic evidence from the victims, but forensics advancements to utilize the samples were years away.
"We didn't have the availability in our department to do DNA testing," Taylor said.
Investigators kept that evidence for 25 years.
Then, last year, the Alabama Attorney General's Cold Case Unit took a look at the unsolved serial rape investigation. They hit on a DNA match, the same man Decatur investigators suspected all those years ago.
August 3rd, a Morgan County grand jury indicted Garth for four counts of first degree rape.
"They took some of our old evidence, put it together through some of our reports and did a great job, were able to identify the perpetrator of those rapes way back when. And he was in prison. And hopefully he'll be staying there," said Taylor.
This is the second Decatur cold case rape investigation helped by forensic testing recently. In May, Kenneth Jackson pleaded guilty to the 1994 rape of a 16-year-old girl after Decatur detectives got a match from a national DNA database.